The continuing saga that is red snapper management in the Gulf of Mexico took another strange, but expected turn last Wednesday when fisheries managers from states and federal agencies announced a renewal of opportunity for recreational anglers in federal waters.
For Mississippi anglers, it means another 39 days of red snapper fishing in federal waters that began on Friday (June 16). The season will be open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays each week through Sept. 4, plus be open on weekday holidays — Monday July 3, Tuesday July 4, and Monday Sept. 4.
The U.S. Department of Commerce and the five Gulf states agreed this week to align the state and federal seasons, which means state and federal waters will be closed to red snapper fishing Monday through Thursday except for the days listed above.
It took intervention by several Congressional representatives from the states to negotiate the extended season with federal fisheries management, which earlier had set a three-day June 1-June 3 recreational season in federal waters.
“I believe this decision shows our willingness to negotiate in good faith with our federal and state partners to give our Mississippi anglers the most opportunities to fish for Red Snapper,” said Jamie Miller, executive director of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, in a press release.
This change does not affect the commercial season or the recreational for-hire season. The federal for-hire season ends at 12:01 a.m. July 20.
Anglers still are required to participate in MDMR’s reporting program for Red Snapper, “Tails n’ Scales.” This program is available through a smartphone app, a website and a call center. The app is available in iTunes and Google Play. The website is tailsnscales.org. Fishermen also can call 1-844-MSSNAPP (677-6277) to speak to a representative 24 hours a day.
Anglers must create a profile and start a trip. They must have a trip number when they are out on the water. They must report their catch and close out one trip before creating a new one.